Monday, August 18, 2008

Frankly Speaking

Thomas Frank hits the nail right on its radical right-wing head. Please, go read the entire piece. And then head over to BuzzFlash and buy his newest book, The Wrecking Crew.

One problem we liberals have is that we tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. We also prefer, in general, to find a modus vivendi with our antagonists rather than engage in continuous, all out war against them. And we refuse to believe (since such thinking is alien to the liberal worldview) that our antagonists are as soulless, vicious, amoral, and, ultimately, nihilistic as they are eventually revealed to be. By that time it's almost too late to stop them.

The New Deal was made possible by the violent economic upheaval known as the Great Depression and the widespread contempt for plutocratic, Republican rule that resulted. The Right has learned a few lessons since then; they have gone about their work in a much more subtle, insidious way, avoiding cataclysmic economic collapse while providing the masses with enough bread and circuses (and wars) to keep them distracted. And as far as Democratic officeholders are concerned, if politicians can't be beat, they can be bought. So, as we have learned to our great misfortune, can the fourth estate.

So what do we do?

Talk amongst yourselves.

The Plot Against Liberal America | Democracy and Elections | AlterNet
Throwing the rascals out is no longer enough. The problem is structural; it is inscribed on the map; it glows from the illuminated logos on the contractors' office buildings; it is built into the systems of governance themselves. A friend of mine summarized this concisely as we were lunching in one of those restaurants where the suits and the soldiers get together. Sweeping his hand so as to take in our fellow diners and all the contractors' offices beyond, he said, "So you think all of this is just going to go away if Obama gets in?" This whole economy, all these profits?

He's right, of course; maybe even righter than he realized. It would be nice if electing Democrats was all that was required to resuscitate the America that the right flattened, but it will take far more than that. A century ago, an epidemic of public theft persisted, despite a long string of reformers in the White House, Republicans and Democrats, each promising to clean the place up. Nothing worked, and for this simple reason: democracy cannot work when wealth is distributed as lopsidedly as theirs was-and as ours is. The inevitable consequence of plutocracy, then and now, is bought government.
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